Port Harcourt, Nigeria; September 10, 2012: Etisalat in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of Lagos Business School, Pan African University last week held the Port-Harcourt edition of the Market Access, a quarterly business networking session organised for small and medium scale businesses in the country at the presidential Hotel in Port Harcourt.
The session with theme “Facilitating market access to small and growing businesses” was spurred by the need to give growing businesses the platform to meet and interact with big businesses in order to create better business opportunities, create new avenues to build stronger businesses and in turn promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in Nigeria.
Speaking on the rationale behind the event, the Chief Commercial Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Wael Ammar who was represented by the Director, Corporate and Indirect Sales Channels, Mr. Ken Ogujiofor said small and growing businesses are integral to economic growth in Nigeria. According to him, “Small and Medium Size Enterprises remain the backbone for the development of most economies around the world. They create huge job opportunities at relatively low capital cost, thereby reducing high level of unemployment. SMEs also drive innovation which is one of Etisalat’s business pillars, that is why we decided to partner with the EDC of the PAN University to create an innovative and enabling platform called Market Access where SMEs can network with themselves and larger organisations, in order to drive growth.”
‘Etisalat is very passionate about empowering the middle class through SMEs. We have a dedicated product for SMEs called easybusiness designed to lower the communication cost of growing business with as little as three employees. Participants at Market Access Nigeria are encouraged to take advantage of this product,’’ he added.
Speaking also at the event, Director General, SMEDAN represented by Wale Fasanya said networking platforms such as Market Access will create access to a competitive market, build capacity within SMEs and create an enabling environment for growth. He commended Etisalat for its interest and contribution to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria, stating the huge success and impact the previous edition held in Abuja had on SMEs. ‘‘The Abuja event was very successful as thousands of SMEs have been trooping into our business clinics looking for support,” he said. He urged other large organisations to emulate Etisalat in the pursuit of serious economic growth in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Tammi Edmund Tam’nabo representative of the General Manager, Content Development at Shell Nigeria spoke on the need for SMEs to pursue businesses in the oil and gas industry like facilities management, civil and road construction, catering and hotel management. He also urged them to strive to run their businesses like world class companies, by adopting proper business models and strategies. These he said includes maintaining proper documentation, policy, governance structures, proper accounting and book keeping practices and tax returns as this would enable appropriate funding from financial institutions to foster business success and growth.
He recognised the importance of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), as a sub-sector to every economy that constitutes to the growth engine of developed countries; contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), tax revenues, job creation, Income generation and poverty reduction. He concluded by applauding Etisalat for creating an enabling environment while noting that enabling platforms such as the Market Access reinforce the strategic importance of SMEs and underscores the imperative for a conference of this nature.
The event ended with a pitching competition where three winners were selected for having successfully pitched their businesses in 3mins, the winner was award a blackberry and invited by Etisalat to Market Access Lagos. The Market Access Nigeria is a quarterly networking event that holds in key locations in the country. The event had over 500 SMEs in attendance and the next edition will take place in Lagos in November.
In just about 3 years of operations, Etisalat Nigeria has become a major industry player with a growing subscriber base of over 13 million in a highly competitive market. Its portfolio of voice and data-centric products include – easy starter, easycliq, easybusiness easyblaze, and elite world; all tailor-made to meet the needs of its subscribers. For its outstanding performance, it has won several awards including ‘Brand of the Year’, ‘Best Telecom Customer Service’ Telecom Innovations Company of the Year, and ‘Most Innovative Corporate Social Responsibility Company’, among others. Etisalat Nigeria is one of the 16 operations of the Etisalat Group that spans across Africa, Middle East and Asia serving over 170 million subscribers; and it is committed to delivering innovative and quality services to its growing subscribers.